Michael Phelps showed us the traits of success as he won his eighth Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games on August 17, 2008. Can you imagine the excitement and emotions going through Phelps, his family, and his teammates as he accomplished this Olympic record?
What about you? Do you have the traits of success just like Phelps? Are you as dedicated to your business and personal goals with the same zest as Phelps? Imagine what would happen to your goals if you were.
Do you want to achieve and exceed your goals? Take a look at the nine traits of success below and set up your own plan to raise the bar to “Go for the Gold.”
9 Traits of Success
1. Work hard on your plan. We know that Phelps practiced many years to achieve the Gold record he has today. How hard do you work on your plan? You have to work on them every day and keep your list in front of you. Your first step towards the Gold is to write down the tasks you want to accomplish for the month and then determine what activities you need to do to achieve them.
2. Prioritize your tasks. Focus on the most important tasks and do them first. I imagine that Gold Medal Winner Michael Phelps at a young age learned how to swim before he started competing with others. Phelps at age 15 began competing in the year 2000 at the Sydney Summer Olympics. He didn’t win a medal. Five months later he won a world record becoming the “youngest man ever to set a world record.” After that he began breaking his own world records. Phelps always had a plan. Win or lose he just kept on going. Do your tasks one step at a time. Stay focused, prioritize your tasks, and do each activity until you get it done.
3. Avoid interruptions or obstacles. Do your best to avoid interruptions or problems that might distract you from accomplishing your tasks for the day. Sometimes you just have to shut off the phone and avoid reading your email messages. Decide if an obstacle must be handled right now or if it can wait until you finish the task at hand. Stay focused. Last year Phelps took a nasty stumble and broke his right wrist. He tripped on a patch of ice while climbing into his friend’s car in Michigan. He was in despair after the fracture was discovered and he said, “It’s over. I’m finished.” During his rehabilitation he was confined to kicking in the pool with a kickboard and it strengthened Phelps’s legs. He had a rough training cycle, but he did it. The training made Phelps’s kick stronger than ever and he was able to “kick his way to victory.” He had a mission to win. Do you have a mission to win? Stay focused.
4. Learn what you need to know to complete your tasks. Sometimes we get stuck achieving our goals because we don’t know how to do a step in the process. Can you imagine what it was like when Phelps was a child and the first time he had to go into the water? He comes from a family of swimmers so he had ready-made swim coaches to help him along the way. It is important to find the answers you need from friends, mentors, colleagues and research. We usually slow down, procrastinate, or avoid the next task when we don’t have the answers. Don’t let that happen to you. Be proactive and learn how to finish your task.
5. Stay focused on the solution, not the problem. When I was interviewing some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs a few years ago for a book I was writing, Cesar Plata networking guru, had an interesting philosophy on handling problems. “Problems?” he said. “I have endured many personal and financial struggles but I never saw them as problems,” he self-assuredly told me. “I see them as unmet challenges. When something doesn’t work you try another way until you achieve the results you want.” Stay focused on the solution and soon you will have the answer.
6. Be responsible for your actions. If you get stuck, if your plans don’t work, don’t blame others. Don’t blame the world. Take charge of the situation. Decide what YOU can do to move forward. There are no Stop signs-you have the GREEN light. “With so many people saying it couldn’t be done,” Phelps said upon winning his eighth Gold medal, “all it takes is an imagination, and that’s something I learned and something that helped me.” Phelps didn’t listen to others when they said it couldn’t be done. Be responsible for your actions and your dreams can come true.
7. Be a team player. “Without the help of my teammates this isn’t possible,” Phelps said. Even solo professionals have a team: friends, associates, assistants, colleagues, mentors, coaches, and many others. Listen to your team. Support them with your wisdom and guidance as they support you.
8. When it gets tough, work one more day. Phelps said, “Nothing is impossible.” When he broke his wrist, he kept on going. He never gave up. He practiced one more day, then another, and another. He kept on breaking records. What records can you break? Can you work one more day even in tough times and improve on what you already accomplished? Never give up.
9. Although passion is listed last on this list, it is really first. You must be passionate about what you are doing in order to succeed. There is no doubt Phelps was passionate about his sport otherwise he would not have been able to overcome the obstacles that got in his way as he was reaching towards his goals. Competitive swimming was his dream; it was his love. Nothing is impossible when we strongly believe in it. The passionate feeling that we have for something we love and believe in is like a feeling of mild ecstasy. It’s a wonderful feeling. It drives us. It keeps up going. Are you passionate about your dream, your business, and your actions? That is the key to “Winning the Gold.”
Take these nine steps above and make them part of your life. They can help you achieve anything you desire. If you get stuck, identify which step above have you bypassed then start working on it again. With a plan, your determination, and a passionate commitment you can achieve your dreams and goals…just like Michael Phelps.